Scatter

Scatter is a collaborative project by Erik Griswold, John Ferguson, and Sulja Raam Nezovic. Scatter is inspired by Gordon Monahan’s ‘Speaker Swinging’, the environmentally attuned work of Andy Goldsworthy, and the kinetic sculptures of Arthur Ganson and Zimoun. The motion of the loudspeaker places the Doppler effect at the foreground. By listening beneath and between each mechanism visitors explore sonic possibilities from various perspectives.

Sound emanates from loudspeakers that hang from three-metre-high motorised rotors. Each rotor is controlled via Arduino microcontroller and MOSFET transistor. These are powered by a battery, which is solar charged. Scatter is programmed to have periods of acceleration, deceleration, and pause. The system is a playful embracement of rotating loudspeakers that also highlights the physicality of sound.

Current developments: the prototypes that embody the project thus far utilize either Bluetooth speakers, which rely on mobile devices for audio streaming, or specially created single voice synthesizers, which are battery powered. Neither is ideal, we aspire to a create a large scale touring work that can be semi-permanently and autonomously installed. Future iterations will incorporate a slip-ring to allow power and audio signal to be distributed to the moving rotor (see demo here). This will mean each device can run from a single battery/solar panel while audio will run either from an upgraded microcontroller (Teensy 3.6) or an external input. We are also considering the use of LED lighting to make the work more effective at night, the timing of the whole system will be governed via a photocell so we can control the length of time after sunset that the installation will run for and at what point after sunrise it will start up in the morning. 

Scatter was created as part of Hidden Sounds 2018, a series of 7 sound installations curated by Clocked Out with funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. The installations were collaboratively developed by Erik Griswold, Vanessa Tomlinson, John Ferguson, Sulja Nezovic, Leah Barclay and Erkki Veltheim, in partnership with the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre. Hidden Sounds have appeared as part of National Science Week and the Eco-Acoustics International Conference, installed at Tyalgum Music Festival, and presented at The Listening Museum III in association with Clocked Out and Urban Arts Project.